Awards for Distinction 2012 – Alternative Investments


afd2012

BNP Paribas Wealth Management

Stephanie Lair

Stephanie Lair
Head of Investment Services, Asia Pacific
BNP Paribas Wealth Management

As the search for alpha intensifies and Asian investors look beyond traditional asset classes, private banks in the region are looking to alternative investments as a means to not only pique investor interest but also to differentiate their own product suites. The banks that have emerged as leaders in this endeavour are the ones that have honed their understanding of the complex nature of these products and their specific liquidity requirements. For private banks, the challenge has been to expand the market for alternative investments beyond institutional investors and re-package these products so that they are more palatable to high net worth individuals.

Asian Private Banker judges BNP Paribas Wealth Management (WM) to be the worthy recipient of this year’s Asian Private Banker Best Private Bank – Alternative Investments award, because it has responded with innovation and flexibility to intrinsic complexity of selling alternative investments to Asian clients.

This deftness is evidenced in BNP Paribas WM’s growing footprint in this space, as clients vote with their money. US$600 million of client assets in Asia are invested in alternative products on the bank’s platform. Indeed, clients are clearly voting with their money, with 3% of clients’ total invested assets with BNP Paribas WM in Asia sitting in alternative investments.

Since the majority of clients looking for alternative investments tend to focus on hedge funds, the US$1.5 billion BNP Paribas Wealth Management manages in client investments into hedge funds globally (excluding fund of funds) clearly indicates its leadership in this space.
For clients wary of the large “bite-size” involved in private equity investments, BNP Paribas has instituted feeder funds that charge clients a nominal fee, allowing them access to private equity investment opportunities where the initial investment can be as low as US$250,000 – a stark contrast to the US$5-10 million otherwise required for direct subscription to these opportunities; and given Asian investors’ instinctive preference for real estate investments, BNP Paribas Real Estate’s leading position in European real estate transactions and services is a clear differentiator for clients who want trophy properties in London, Paris – even a vineyard in le Midi.